How I Lost My Confidence and Let Social Media Make Me Feel Less Than
I’ve never been big into social media. Facebook and Instagram were just things I would check every couple of days, and although I had a Facebook page from my business, I never thought much of it. Then last year, I took a course on how to use social media for my business, and my world changed. I started planning 4-5 posts for both Facebook and Instagram per week, writing a blog with two posts per week, and interacting with people online daily.
As my social media presence grew, so did my following, and I had future brides and grooms as well as portrait clients reaching out to me. It was working!! This social media thing does have powers, and I really started to appreciate how these tools connected me not only with clients, but helped me connect to people who had similar careers, life goals, and hobbies. Social media had become apart of my business, apart of my livelihood, and things just seemed to keep growing.
Winter hit and my business started to slow down, as it normally does every season, and although I had work, I was anxious to get more for this coming season and kept up my routine of posts. I had a lot of people reach out, even some set meetings and verbally confirm dates, but I was in a slump, no real bookings, just lots of conversations that led to nothing. Instead of using this slower time as an opportunity to catch up on rest, hobbies, or my social life, I did the opposite, I started a descent into a darker place, a place where I had no confidence and stopped believing in myself.
I had found the dark side of social media. I was obsessed with each like, each comment, and spent most of my afternoons comparing myself and my business to my competitors. I was following hundreds of photographers not to inspire me like they used to, but rather to bring myself down. Why did that photo get so many likes when I posted something just like this? How have they only been doing this for a year and have thousands of followers and I’ve been busting my butt for years? Questions like this popped into my head every day, and I started to tell myself I had failed, I wasn’t good enough, I would never be successful, and I should just give up. It was the first time in five years I had never felt so less than, so insignificant.
After stewing in my sorrows for way too long, I sought help. I wasn’t going to let myself feel this way anymore especially about something I had worked so hard at for so long, so I decided to pour my efforts into positive things. I signed up for a course on different kinds of marketing, I started to do more yoga, I made a commitment to meditating in the morning, and the one most helpful thing I did was turn off my notifications on Facebook and Instagram. I stopped looking at my phone every five second to see if someone had liked or commented on my post, I stopped obsessing and scrolling to compare myself, I stopped telling myself I would never be as talented or successful as Bob, Sue, or Mary. Instead of posting and waiting for comments, I would post, and walk away until the end of the day.
As the weeks went by, I started to feel lighter like I was no longer chained to my phone and computer. I had more time in my day because I wasn’t spending hours obsessing anymore. Things were shifting back to where they were. It became less about how much I don’t have and more about what I already have done.
It was almost as the glow from my screens had casted a spell, I literally became obsessed with what others thought of me, and when that starts to happen, it can only spiral downwards. Social media is something I will continue to use, but it is something I need to use wisely. It’s powerful, like a double edged sword. So much good can come from connecting to others and putting yourself out there, but when abused, it can also do damage.
Life is always changing, and there will be ups and downs for me, for you, for everyone. No matter what changes, we have to believe in ourselves, that’s the only true thing that can stay constant. I hope my story in someway can inspire you to love yourself and who you are. Success isn’t measured by numbers like the amount of money we make or how many followers we have, but rather by how happy we are each and every day. So be happy, you deserve it!
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